(Mirror Daily, United States) – Esmond Bradley Martin, who is the author of numerous reports and investigations into the illegal ivory trade in Kenya, was found dead in his home in Nairobi on Monday. The 76-year-old man was reportedly stabbed in his neck.
Authorities were able to apprehend 4 suspects. Nairobi Police Chief Japheth Koome said the suspects were caught Monday afternoon and the murder likely took place on Sunday afternoon. The police wouldn’t give any details about the suspects’ identities or their role.
Martin is well-known among conservationists for his tireless efforts to put an end to illegal trade of ivory and rhino horns. He found that most demand for these animal parts comes from China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Laos.
His well-documented investigations convinced Chinese authorities to shut down the country’s legal ivory markets in 2017. Paula Kahumbu of Wildlife Direct noted that Martin’s contribution to exposing illegal ivory trade was critical.
An ‘Unsung Hero’ Has Fallen
Iain Douglas-Hamilton, who leads the group that published many of Martin’s research papers in recent years, praised him as an “unsung hero” of the conservationist movement.
Douglas-Hamilton described Martin’s investigations as “meticulous” and underscored that his work was conducted despite the risks. Martin was so passionate about what he was doing that he gained the inner strength to live through such busy schedules that would have drained the life out of a person half his age.
Before he was killed, he was working on an investigation into Myanmar’s contribution to poaching and illegal ivory trade. The police couldn’t tell if this last work led to his death or there have been other motives.
Douglas-Hamilton unveiled that he and Martin were friends for nearly half a century, so his murder hit him hard “both personally and professionally.”
Poachers have killed more than 100,000 elephants over the last 10 years, as the trade is now managed by organized crime groups since illegal ivory is still in high demand.
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